Beam and block vs standard oversight floor

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Useless 1, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Useless 1

    Useless 1 New Member

    Hi guys

    I'm in the throes of putting together a spec and costings for a newbuild. I'm interested in getting an NHBC warrenty with the build but they are talking about piling (eek!) due to the clay ground conditions and a beam and block floor as opposed to the usual hardcore floor.

    I've looked in detail at the piling vs standard foundations (which run at 3 metres deep if I dont pile!)

    My question is which of the floor techniques is the most straightforward to use and what are the cost implications of each. Is a beam and block significantly more costly than a standard floor?

    Any help appreciated.

  2. doing a bit

    doing a bit New Member

    you cant use oversite concrete with piles, the piles and ringbeam have to be used with either block and beam or suspended wooden floor. the point is if the ground is unstable the floor cant be ground bearing. funnily enough my structual engineer bought a new house built on piles but they put a ground bearing floor in (mass concrete).when it sunk he had a load of hassle getting it redone via the NHBC, had to move out and they put in a block and beam floor
  3. Useless 1

    Useless 1 New Member

    You make an excellent point! Had I thought it through at all I'd have realised that myself.

    The piles are looking like a very expensive option at the moment. Mind you, three metre strips aren't going to be cheap!
    Can you offer any notion of a cost comparison of the materials and labour required for the beam and block construction method and standard hardcore floor. It might help me make a more educated decision about which direction to take.
    To my mind a beam and block floor would be a more costly option due to the nature of the materials involved vs a lorry load of rubble, some DPC and a whacker plate!
    Is it that much more costly? If the beam and block isn't so bad then it might make the pile cost easier to swallow!


  4. Useless 1

    Useless 1 New Member

    If not direct costings then what one might cost as a multiple of the other i.e Beam and block would be 4 X the cost of a hardcore floor.

    Thanks to anyone who has an idea and can help!
  5. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    Where are you?
  6. Useless 1

    Useless 1 New Member

    On the sofa, laughing my a**e off at Sport Relief.
    More specifically however, the sunny South East of England, a few miles from Gatwick. I'm eyeing up another new build project in the same street as the one I started a few years back. I'm only just finishing up on the garden and the other few bits and pieces that I didnt have the time or cash to do at the time.
    Its basically taking apart an old prefab house and rebuilding in its place. I had a contractor for the last one and just paid a figure without a cost breakdown.
    After learning my lessons and realising the need for more careful financial planning this time round I'm leaving no stone unturned, hence my interest in the floor. I'm also thinking of 'going it alone' and being my own contractor. I've met and worked with a lot of subbies now but I'm still not 100% sure if i'd hack the pace with such little experience.
    I would have gone back to my contractor for advice as him and his team were exemplary. Problem is he's retired to
  7. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    Have a chat with Chris here
  8. Useless 1

    Useless 1 New Member

    @doing a bit...

    I've heard that the NHBC are a bit hit and miss myself. They appear to massively over-engineer their solutions to ensure they don't get a call regarding a structural problem further down the line. A lot of people are under the illusion that they'll be covered for a lot more than they actually are (shrinkage cracking, shoddy finishing etc)

    I've spoken to the local BCO about the new LABC warrenty on offer. I'm much more interested in conforming to a building control officers point of view on whats what rather than that of a profit making organisation such as the NHBC.
  9. Useless 1

    Useless 1 New Member

    Thank you for that link. I'll get in touch and see what they can do in terms of my design.

    Appreciate that.
  10. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    Tell Chris that RWJ sent you and I might get a drink out of it :)
  11. doing a bit

    doing a bit New Member


    think about getting some core samples done to assess the actual soil conditions, normally bco's will give a spec reqd based on a blanket basis, anything in that general area will be sandy. clay etc might save you money in the long term. if the bco is saying the ground is unstable then piles or a raft ?? will be the only solution anyway. ask your bco re a suspended wooden floor, quicker and easier than block and beam. good points for block and beam is it gives you a screed to put in wet U/F heating, things to think about.
  12. Useless 1

    Useless 1 New Member

    I'll look into all the suggestions.

    Thanks all.

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